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Black (Davidson) Family fonds
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Davidson and Margaret Black sous-fonds

This sous-fonds consists of correspondence, primarily between Davidson Black and Margaret Delamere, from the time of their engagement in 1878 until his death eight years later, but also letters of congratulation to Margaret from family and friends on her engagement. The arrangement is by names of the correspondents or groups of them. There is also a tintype photograph of their children, Redmond and Davidson, taken in 1886.

Black, Davidson, Sr.

Personal

Davidson Black kept a diary throughout much of his adult life. There are 28 volumes in this series. The earliest is for 1902, the year he entered medicine at the University of Toronto; it includes a tally of monthly expenses. The last diary is for 1934, the final entry being for 9 March, six days before his death. For each of the years 1922 and 1925, there are two volumes of diaries. There are no diaries present for the years 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, and 1912. The diary Davidson kept while on active service during World War I is filed with his service records in Series 4. Most of the entries are brief as the diaries, except for 1902, are small. Some of the loose entries with the diaries are longer.

A number of items document his personal activities. The earliest is a small well-thumbed copy of 'The Book of Common Prayer', presented to him by his mother on his 9th birthday in 1893. A notebook, a journal, and permits document his early interest in ornithology. Finally, there are files of memorabilia, poems and sketches, and on honours bestowed on him later in life, along with twelve diplomas and certificates.

Diaries

Series consists of Adena Black's diaries from 1913-1918, from the time of her marriage to Davidson Black through the First World War.

Black (Davidson) Family fonds

  • UTA 1084
  • Fonds
  • 1871-2011

Personal records of the Davidson Black family, covering three generations, with particular reference to Davidson Black, the discoverer of Peking Man. Included are his diaries, extensive family correspondence and a few professional letters; files on his education, his employment, including his service in World War I but especially at Peking Union Medical College, his life in China generally, along with a few on his writings, and some artifacts. There is an extensive and well documented photo collection that helps tie the whole together. There are also a number of films made by Davidson Black between the late 1920s and 1932.

Black (Davidson) Family

Margaret Davidson-Black sous-fonds

Margaret Davidson-Black survived her husband by 43 years. She hyphenated her name legally in 1913, but for the purpose of this finding aid, Margaret Black will be referred to without using her hyphenated surname. This sous-fonds begins with Margaret’s handwritten account of her working life and a file on her official change of name. It also includes other legal documents, materials related to her involvement in the Women’s Auxiliary of the Church of England in Canada, and some photographs. The remainder of the sous-fonds consists mostly of letters sent to her by friends and family members, especially her sons, Redmond and Davidson, who, from boyhood, wrote to her weekly (sometimes more often) when they were apart. There are also a number of letters from her sons’ wives, Grace and Adena; various Delamere relatives, especially her sisters, Sassie and Emily, and brother, Will; and other friends.

In the first accession received in 2011, some of the letters Redmond sent to her are present, but most were separated out by family members and handed over to Redmond’s family. The 2018 accession consists of these letters that had been separated out. However, a number of Davidson’s letters are also present in this accession, as Margaret often passed along letters written by him to her other son Redmond, which he would then return, usually enclosed with his own letters to Margaret.

Davidson’s letters from his youth provide both a detailed description of his activities and insight into his interests and ideas. The letters from 1919 on are of particular interest because of his running commentary on the political turmoil in China, his observations on Chinese customs and society, and the description of aspects of his professional work that he thought would interest
his mother. Letters written by Redmond in 1902 and 1916 are of particular interest, as they reveal aspects of Canadian involvement in overseas wars (Boer War and World War I).

Davidson-Black, Margaret

Correspondence

There are two correspondents with Davidson Black in this series: his mother, Margaret, and, especially, his wife, Adena. There are large gaps in the letters received from his mother. There are scattered letters for the years 1905, 1908, 1912 and 1920. A substantial number exist only for the years 1921 to 1927.

More of Adena’s letters to Davidson have survived. In the early years of their relationship, she numbered her letters; 95 numbered ones (along with several unnumbered ones and postcards) were written between 24 July 1912 and the end of 1913. Only one, #80, is missing here. After their marriage, the number of letters Adena wrote to Davidson fell off sharply, but not as sharply as the gaps in this series would indicate. There are only four letters for 1914, all written in January (they were together for most of the year, including their trip to Europe), and none thereafter until 1920. This means there are no letters for the period when Davidson was on active service during World War I (June 1917 to January 1919). There is only one letter present for 1920, none for 1921, and five for 1922. For the next, decade, until August 1933, there are a good number of letters, as the Blacks were often separated for weeks or months at a time.

The remainder of this series contains letters sent to and/or received from relatives and friends, including Professor J. J. R. Macleod; his file also contains one his hand-painted Christmas cards.

Education

This series contains certificates and diplomas, correspondence, course and lab notes, term papers and memorabilia documenting aspects of Davidson Black’s education, running from the Wellesley School through Harbord Collegiate and the Faculties of Medicine and Arts at the University of Toronto. There is also a file on Davidson’s summer project in 1907 to earn money for his Bachelor of Arts program, prospecting in the Temagami Forest Reserve.

Adena Nevitt Black sous-fonds

This sous-fonds contain Adena Black’s diaries from the time of her marriage through the First World War, followed by correspondence from family members, her mother-in-law, Margaret Davidson, and, especially from her husband, Davidson. There are also a few letters from friends, some of whom, like the Houghtons, were associated with the Peking Union Medical School. The correspondence is grouped by family and, from Davidson, is arranged chronologically.

Also present are files documenting some of Adena’s activities in China and, in particular, her attempts to market Chinese-made objects, initially through a partnership with Daisy and Marion Boulton in Toronto (1924-1928) and latterly (1931-1934) through the Peking Temples Company, incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware in 1931. The goods were sold through a store in Port Carling in Muskoka, and through other venues. These files contain correspondence, and financial records and, for the Peking Temples Company, incorporation documents.

This sous-fonds ends with correspondence relating to the death of Davidson Black, tributes to him, and the design for and photographs of his grave. There are also files documenting Adena’s final years in China, including some on her husband’s library, her continuing interest in the fate of the Peking Union Medical School, and the writing of Dora Hood’s biography of her husband.

Black, Adena

Employment

Except for photographs, this series contains little documentation on Davidson Black’s employment before 1917 when he enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps and went overseas. The bulk of this series relates to his work in China at the Peking Union Medical College, his anthropological research including his discovery of "Peking man", and his travels within China and to Mongolia, India, Siam, and elsewhere.

The files contain correspondence, photographs, addresses, and publications (including some drafts), and memorabilia. Most of the photographs were taken by Dr. Black himself, though some were taken by Adena and others (especially presentation copies) by friends and colleagues. Dr. Black carefully annotated many of the photos he took, often in considerable detail even to the time of day and the shutter speed used. Included are a few glass-plate negatives and about 50 lantern slides. The negatives are usually dated and were kept except if they were in good condition. On his travels, Dr. Black collected autographed photographs of many of the scientists and academics he met; these are included in this series.

Publications and addresses

This series documents only one of Davidson Black’s publications, but more of his addresses, in particular some he delivered in 1925 before his discovery of Peking Man, and the Croonian Lecture in December 1932 that cemented the acceptance of his research.

Davidson Black III and Nevitt Black sous-fonds

While this sous-fonds contains a copy of G. Elliot Smith’s memorial to Davidson Black that he sent to Davy and a single file of letters from Adena to Davy, along with some photographs, most of it relates to work done Davy in relation to interest by individuals and the media in his father and in the search for the lost fossils of Peking Man, and the efforts by Davy and Nevitt to ensure that their father’s work continued to be recognized. Also present are five diplomas and certificates relating to Davy’s medical education.

Black, Davidson, III

Delamere Family correspondence

Letters to Margaret Black from her brothers, other family members and in-laws, two nephews (Harold and Rudolph Delamere) who fought in World War I, and friends. Also included are a few letters written by Margaret to her sisters, Nell (Ellen) and Sallie.

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